20 – 1
Every year in the Ontario construction industry more than
800 lost-time injuries are caused by ladder accidents.
Many of these accidents involve falls resulting in serious
injuries and fatalities. Falls from ladders are common to all
trades and pose one of the most serious safety problems
in construction. The following are major causes of
— Ladders are not held, tied off, or otherwise secured.
— Slippery surfaces and unfavourable weather
conditions cause workers to lose footing on rungs or
— Workers fail to grip ladders adequately when climbing
up or down.
— Workers take unsafe positions on ladders (such as
leaning out too far).
— Placement on poor footing or at improper angles
causes ladders to slide.
— Ladders are defective.
— High winds cause ladders to topple.
— Near electrical lines, ladders are carelessly handled
or improperly positioned.
— Ladder stabilizers are not used where appropriate.
To assist supervisors and foremen in preventing such
accidents, this chapter provides guidelines for selecting,
setting up, maintaining, and using ladders. Because
ladders are the most common type of access equipment
in the construction industry, thousands are used every
working day. As a result, there are many thousands of
hours of exposure to ladder hazards every week.
The extensive exposure, the high fatality rate, and the large
number of lost-time injuries as well as the associated costs
and suffering from ladder accidents justify increased training
of the workforce and better supervision of ladder use.
Worker training alone will not yield sufficient improvement.
Any significant reduction in ladder accidents will require
regular supervisory reinforcement of training as well as
improved site control of operations involving ladders.
STANDARDS AND MATERIALS
Standard manufacturing specifications exist for most types
of ladders. CSA Standard Z11 sets out standard
requirements for manufacturing portable ladders. The
Ontario Ministry of Labour has established standards for